As the demand for alternatives to oral and parenteral routes of drug administration increases, the pharmaceutical industry is seeking a host of drug-delivery methods that will appeal to a broad range of patients and conditions, such as menopause, osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease, according to a press release from Greystone Associates, an Amherst, NH-based medical industry consultant.

In particular, the market for inhaled drug delivery will remain a dynamic one, as direct-to-consumer marketing, patent expiration-driven competition from generics, and the changing regulatory climate create new opportunities. For inhalation device suppliers and their drug partners, understanding the concerns, preferences, and limitations of consumers to self-medicate via inhalation will be the driving force for a future generation of inhaled drugs.

Dry-powder inhalation devices are being driven by escalating research activity in powder formulations, advances in particle engineering, and the development of novel device architectures. According to Greystone, the metered dose inhaler (MDI) has seen an uptick in interest over the last few years as design changes have streamlined the self-medicating process for greater ease of use.

In addition to inhalation devices,  other noninvasive architectures—including gels, transdermal patches, and needle-free injectors—are being developed and promise to improve patient compliance and effectively change the way important illnesses and conditions are treated.